tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 24, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
impromptu meeting with reporters before he leave ifs for davos and made several headlines starting with immigration. he says he would be okay with potentially legal citizenship for the dreamers. the 800,000 or so people who were brought to the u.s. at a young age from various countries that are here in the united states. there's been a big question what's going to happen with them and the president said here at the white house that he would be open to giving them permanent citizenship in ten to 12 years. we're told the plan that's going to be unrolled next week is to give them a legal status in the meantime and in ten to 12 years, if they behave, we're told they would be given permanent citizenship. that is new. we have not heard that directly from the president before that that is something he's considering. he also talked about funding for the wall. he said that he believes he will get $25 billion to build the wall that we hear so much about.
as you know, chuck schumer, the minority leader called the white house saying he was going to rescind funding for the wall as part of the deal, but the president very stern saying he's going to get the funding, $25 billion, she's going to save the money. talk iing about the visa lotter. something we've also heard president discuss time and time again, he said that he may want to do away with it. he wasn't exactly clear in terms of what's going to happen there. but he insinuated that he it be something the white house want to do away with. but he was clear. we're going to get the deal done. at one point, he looked at john kelly and said john, by the time i get back, you better have a deal done. of course that's only a couple of days. pretty unrealistic giving the divide between democrats and republicans. i asked him about chuck schumer, whether he would invite him back to the white house to negotiate the deal. he said, sure, i like chuck. we also asked him about andrew
mccabe and the report iing he asked him in the oval office who he voted for. the president told us he doesn't remember asking andy mccabe that question. we also asked him about robert mueller. special counsel. what he plans to do with the special counsel and being interviewed. he says he wants to sit down and be interviewed by robert mueller. that he's totally open to it and he said, wolf, he would do it under oath. he said he would be happy to speak to robert mueller in person under oath, but first he would have to go with the advice of his lawyers. we asked if he thinks robert mueller will be b fair to him and he said we'll have to wait and see. several headline frs the president at the white house today. >> very important stuff. the i take it this was just an informal gathering with white house cory spontss, were there cameras inside? was this prearranged? how did it unfold? i ask because we anticipate sooner rather than later he's going to be asked by robert
mueller, the spebl counsel, to sit down and answer questions. >> that's right. there weren't any cameras there. the reporters there were in a meeting learning about the immigration plan that the white house plans to unveil next week. once the president is back from davos and a few minutes into that, the president walkeded in, opened the door and of course, we immediately started asking questions. fortunately, we were alsoready recording, so we were able to capture anything. he talked to us for ten to 15 minutes there. on the record. you know, it was very clear. he wanted to make the point about the immigration plan that's going to be unveiled. what he wants and what he believes the democrats and republicans will be able to agree on in terms of a deal and he was really specific. he added more specifics like the you know, citizenship, permanent citizenship for dreamers down the road than we've heard from
this president. so it's clear he wanted the make his message clear and we covered a range of topics before he left the room. >> that notion eventually of dreamers getting permanent citizenship in ten to 12 years, it's seen as amnesty and they're opposed to citizenship down the road for these dreamers. so that's very, very significant. on the issue of his willingness to testify to appear under oath before robert mueller and his investigators, did he say under what circumstances if they came over to the white house, would he do it before a federal grand jury with his attorneys present? did he get into any of that? >> he would only say, wolf, that he was more than happy to sit down and talk face-to-face with robert mueller under oath. he said that time and time again. he said he doesn't know the time frame. now, he was very careful to say look, i'm going to do what my lawyers advise, but we can tell you, wolf, just from the
reportireport ing done, that the president has told people around him, he wants to get in front of him. he believes he has done nothing wrong. he said in this gathering with reporters time and time again, there was no collusion. no obstruction of justice and he wants to convey that to robert mueller. now, of course, the terms of what is actually going to happen is still being worked out and our sources tell us that his lawyers would prefer for written answers rather than an in person interview. so we'll just have to wait and see what happens. but he wanted to make it clear he believes he has nothing to hide when it comes to collusion and obstruction of justice and he wants to tell robert mueller that under oath. >> just two hours or so from now, pamela, he boards air force one at joint base andrews and flies off the davos switzerland for the world economic forum. give us a little bit of his mood during the ten or 15 minute exchange. you and other white house co correspondents had.
>> he seemed pretty jovial, like he was looking forward to the trip. a quick trip. he talked about the recent trade arrangements his administration has made slapping te inpin inpi solar panels and how he's going to convey america first and that message and if the american economy is doing well, then the world economy is going to do well. that is really what he said to the reporters. of what he wants to convey and he did seem to be in good spirits talking to the reporters. you know, we kept asking questions and he kept seeming to want to answer those. ten or 15 minutes or so. >> very interesting. we're going to get back to you. i know you get an audio tape of what the president said. i want to hear that, but stand by, i want to bring in jeffrey toobin. jeffrey, all right, so the president says he's more than willing to sit down with robert mueller and his team and answer questions under oath. that's a significant breaking news development. >> well, but he also left himself an out.
he said i'll do what my lawyers say. so he, he is sort of having things both ways, but this is definitely a more definitive statement than we've had from him before, but it doesn't seem like he is locked into anything. we are dealing here with the art of the deal a little bit about this testimony. he has often said he wanted to testify. has also said he wants to listen to his lawyers. on another occasion, he said well, since there was no collusion, i don't know what point there would be to testify. so i don't think there's any doubt at this point there will be some form of testimony. but whether it's under oath, who's present for how long, what are the subject areas, all of that is still to be determined and the president's statements today didn't lock him in on any of that. >> but he is the president of the united states, jeffrey. if he wants to testify and appear and answer questions under oath, no matter what his lawyers recommend, he can overrule his lawyers and say you
know what, i'm going to do this because i want to do it. >> of course he could. he could definitely overrule his lawyers. but he also said that he was going to listen to his lawyers. so you know, he left himself considerable flexibility in what the ultimate resolution of this is. he very successfully i think tried to show that there was, he felt he had nothing to tihide, t that's a very different thing from specific agreement to testify for x number of hours under oath with a transcript taken, about the following subjects. all of those issues remain on the table and you can be sure there will be complex negotiations between mueller's team and the white house lawyers. >> and assuming, i assume and i think you assume that mueller is getting closer and closer to this final decision to bring in the president for some serious questioning. he's interviewed almost two
dozen other senior white house officials already. >> you know, i think you know, white house lawyers have been saying literally for months, that mueller wrapping up his investigation. if in fact they are approaching the question of when they are going to speak to the president, that really means they are wrapping up their investigation. there is no way that mueller's team is going to get one shot interview the president. so if they feel like they have all the documentary evidence, all the e-mails, all the recordings, all the foreign surveillance audio tapes that they think they're going to get and can you know, use it to examine the president, that really does suggest that the mueller investigation is nearing an end point. i think that's good news for the white house and the republicans. >> yeah and i want you to stand by, jeffrey. because we're going to get the audio. the president has this inr
formal exchange with white house correspondents. there were no cameras, but they had their cell phones and they recorded what the president said. we're going to play that recording for you this hour. we want to hear precisely what the president is saying on these very, very sensitive issues involving the overall mueller russia investigation as well as what he's saying in his new willingness to accept a pathway to citizenship for some 800,000 dreamers. the daca recipients here in the united states. a statement that clearly will irritate some of his conservative supporters, republicans in the house of representatives, who see that citizenship path as amnesty and they strongly oppose that. i want to quickly bring in preet. his job is the u.s. attorney in new york by president trump. thanks so much for joining us. are you surprised to hear the president say he's looking forward to speaking with the special counsel, robert mueller,
and that he would speak with him under oath, but he's also waiting to get the recommendations of his attorneys? >> yes, i was listening to your conversation with jeffrey toobin and i agree with what jeff said, that the president is making it look like he's looking forward to talk, which is what a high profile person wants to do if you want to give the impression you have nothing to hide. that's a normal operating procedure for people like that. but at the same time, he has left himself some wiggle room if he thinks a good deal has not been arranged or he can use his lawyers as scapegoats. as we also all know the president sometimes listens to his lawyers, sometimes doesn't. probably it's the case any reasonable person would think they have been telling him for a long time, that he should keep more quiet about various issues. he probably should not have done that lester holt interview. he probably shouldn't be tweeting about various things. whether it's in relation to the
russia investigation or the travel ban. his statements have been used from twitter and from other circumstances in actual court proceedings that have been unfolding aurnd t ining around his detriment. no only do we know he's capable of overruling his lawyers. in all likelihood, he has done that, but this gives him the opportunity to say he wants to tell his story, but at the same time, the devil will be in the details. >> the president said whatever he wants, he will follow the advice of his lawyers. is there any chance he doesn't submit to an actual interview because he's saying he is looking forward to it. he is the president. if the lawyers recommend don't do it, he could still do it if he he wants. >> sure and the reverse is also true. we know about the track record of this president, whatever you think of him politically is that he changes his mind. a lot. i have some personal experience with that. so this is a person who can say one day, i want a particular deal. the next day say i don't want that deal. one day say he likes steve bannon. the next say he had nothing to
do with my success in winning the election and the same i think is true for this. jeff pointed out a couple of basis on which the president might say i don't want to come testify. he could also say look, my lawyers have been negotiating. they're not being dealt a fair hand. they're asking for special counsel's office is asking for too much. i don't think i'm going to get a fair shake. it's all corrupt. he and his allies have been b saying for some time because it's politically helpful to them, understood mine undermining the credibility of not just the fbi, but also bob mueller himself. people like newt gingrich say it all the time. so i think there are various ways. if the president decides that he doesn't want to talk to special counsel mueller, not with standing what he said today, i think he can say i don't want to do it anymore. he does it all the time. >> we're going to hear the audio fairly soon.
what do you make of this timing? why do you believe the president is saying this now? >> frankly, i have no idea why the president says particular things on particular dates an particular times. sounded like this was impromptu appearance by the president, unexpected by anyone and he talked about a lot of things including immigration. i don't know what prompted it. maybe he saw something on a different network that made him want to talk. >> he says he doesn't remember asking then acting fbi director andrew mccabe how he voted in the presidential election in 2016. do you believe him? >> look, on any particular issue of what the president said r or did not say, i generally will defer to the other party of the room. that's true of jim comey, of some other people. would. >> would it be appropriate of president of the united states to ask a career fbi official to ask how they voted in a presidential election? >> i think it's a bad idea. a terrible idea. a piece was asking not quite the same language, but asking jim
comey for his loyalty or saying about the fbi or the attorney general that that person's job or institution's job is to protect them. for people to believe that the law is being enforced fairly without fear or favor, they have to believe that people are not acting politically. some people have political views that they're supposed to keep to themselves while they have those positions and when the president asks a question like who did you support in a presidential election or who did you vote for or are you going to protect me or have loyalty to me, it undermines people's faith and confidence in how law enforcement does its job and it sends a message to people if i want to keep my job and i don't think this is a worry on the part of someone like mccabe who i know personally, but it sends a terrible message about how law enforcement is not supposed to be as independent as it was meant to be. >> i've heard that statement from a lot of career officials today. they think it was totally inappropriate. in fact, the president asked mccabe how he voted in the presidential action.
preet, i want you to stand by. senator merkley is joining us now, a democrat on the foreign relations committee. senator, president trump says he's looking forward to speaking with the special counsel, robert mueller. that he's willing to speak under oath. assuming his lawyers recommend that. what's your reaction? i see you smiling. >> well, my reaction is he didn't mean any of that. what he meant was he's going to follow his lawyers advice. he's going to be r very, very careful about how he approaches this. this is a president who has pressured three directors of the fbi while he's been president. if he's got comfortable, why is he pressuring them in this fashion? i think he's very concern ed about it. he's going to follow his lawyers very carefully while pretending he's not so concerned. >> he says he'll follow the advice of his attorneys. is there any chance you believe that he won't submit to an interview with the special counsel?
well, i believe he will submit under careful coaching and careful agreements on how he does i. he doesn't want to end up in the situation that he's pulled into a grand jury types setting. i think there will be a level of cooperation very carefully premanaged. >> i'm sure his lawyers woul like to do it in written form. the special counsel submits written questions and the president would submit written answers. i don't believe a lot of experts have suggested to me robert mueller is probably not going to accept that. >> the president also says in this exchange he's had, this informal exchange he's had with white house correspondents including pamela brown, we're about to get ready to release the audio of that exchange. it's about ten or 15 minutes according to pamela and i think our viewers here in the united states and around the world will find it very, very interesting. he goes through a whole bunch of issues, but also says in response to a question according
to pamela, that he doesn't remember asking then act iing f director, andrew mccabe, how he voted in the presidential election. i'll ask you what i just asked preet. do you believe him? >> i think that the president has many things he's done and said he'd loiike to forget. that means he probably wants to forget that he has that. i really agree with the point that when you have a common tear about what wsaid and not said, trust the others in the room, especially if there are several telling the same story. >> what's your big question right now? >> my big question is whether he can actually get to the bottom of whether there was collaboration with russia. now, realize what's going on right now. russia has its botnetanyahuwork working in close cooperation with the republican party. they were putting out tons of social media out of their
computers and now they have proceeded to call for the report coming out of the house intelligence committee to be released and it's really right now, the president should have been standing up in that interview today and saying by the way, russia is still influencing our social media and i'm going to fight russia. i'm going to stop them. we are not going to allow russia to influence what goes on here in the united states of america. we're not seeing that. >> thanks so much for joining us. >> you're very welcome. >> i want to get back to jeffrey. i want to remind our viewers on the breaking news occurring this hour. just moments ago, the president met informally with the group of white house correspondents including our pamela brown. spent about ten or 15 minutes speaking with him, answering questions, making news on a variety of fronts but also suggesting he would be happy to sit down with robert mueller who's investigating the whole russian meddling probe and speak and answer questions under oath, but he had a caveat.
if that's the recommendation of his attorneys, he'll listen to his attorneys. when you hear that, i want to be precise. he theoretically could say i want to do it, i've got nothing to hide. there was no collusion. this is all a witch hunt, but my attorneys are saying don't do it. >> yeah, i think he used the exact right word there. you want to be precise. he doesn't want to be precise. he doesn't want to lock himself in on a commitment to specific testimony under oath for a given amount of time. for a certain number of predetermined suggesbjects. all that is going to be negotiated with his lawyers. let me just say, he's the president of the united states. he is a instituticonstitutional of this country. his officers have every right to negotiate with mueller's office about the terms of testimony. he is not simply a witness like any other witness. so you know, the idea that there
is negotiation to go on, there's nothing inappropriate about that. however, the fact that the president is saying, i want to negotiate, i want to testify under oath, that does not mean that he's going to testify under oath and that is something that very clearly is going to be a subject of these negotiations. and there are lot of terms to be determined about this testimony if it takes place. and i don't think anything the president said today we'll hear short ly the exact words he use, but based on pamela's summary, which i completely believe, he did not lock himself in to anything about whether and when this testimony takes place. >> and we're getting ready, that audio, that tape, of the conversation that the president had with white house correspondents and we'll listen very carefully to his specific words, what he said, what he meant on a variety of issues.
he's getting ready to leave the white house fairly soon. he's going to head over to joint base andrews aboard air force one. fly off to davos, switzerland. what do you think of the way the report we're getting from pamela, how he phrased his willingness to address questi s questions? >> who are we kidding here? i skipped going to the dentist for five years. he doesn't want to do this. can you tell me one positive, one plus side of him going to talk to investigators, particular ly if the interview takes a couple of hours. do you think he's going to persuade mueller oh, this is all a hoax? that's not going to happen. further more, with a man who's remarkably undisciplined, the president of the united states, over that couple of hours after the accumulation of information like other interviews, he better not make a mistake by speaking off the cuff. the reason he's speaking out of both side of his mouth is because he wants to tell the american people i'm cooperating and his lawyers are saying if you're cooperating, be careful
because you're going to step into it if you don't speak the right word. >> what do you think his lawyers are going to recommend to him? >> tighten up as much as b possible. he can't take all written responses. they're going to try to control what areas they're going to diskuz. i would try to control the duration of the interview. you don't want to be there all day, but this is going to take hours. if they agree to do this, it's going to have to be in person and take a while. >> jeffrey, what do you think? in the best of all world frs mueller's per speck, what does -- >> eight hours under oath. like bill clinton did. under -- >> bill clinton did it in front of a federal grand jury. >> not directly. >> by a video link. >> essentially equivalent of testifying before a grand jury. that i think that's what hemts. i think phil raises a very important point here, which is the duration of the testimony. because you know, donald trump is an extremely forceful person.
he is going to be able filibuster and answer these questions. there's not going to be a judge. it will just be mueller's team and the president. who is going to stop donald trump from saying 16 times as he did in a recent interview, there was no collusion. trump can eat up a lot of time by simply talking about what he wants to talk about. and that's why i think the duration of this testimony is going to be extremely important. if it's just an hour, if it's just two hours. the president could just talk for that long and mueller could wind up with virtually nothing. so i think the amount of time is going to be a very, very important part of this negotiation. >> i want to quickly go back to our senior white house correspondent, pamela brown, who was in this extraordinary exchange with the president and other white house correspondents just moments ago.
what are you learning, pamela? >> right, just more about what the president said regarding robert mueller, his willingness to sit down and do an interview with him and he actually said to the reporters, i'm look iing forward to doing it actually. that is a direct quote from him. saying he's happy to do it and he said he would be happy to do it under oath, but he was careful to caveat that he would have to do it under the advice of his lawyers, what they want. he believes he has nothing to hide. that there was no obstruction of justice. no collusion. he said that a couple of times, that he's basically said he wanted to be able to tell robert mueller to convey that to him in terms to him. but i can tell you, there is no exact date set. there's just been reporting that it could happen over the next couple of weeks. but he wanted to make it clear he's not afraid to sit down and
talk to robert mueller. the sources i speak to close to the president that they are for the most part, advising against that. that there is concern about what that might lead to so the president may not necessarily be in agreement with his lawyers in terms of what's going to happen. >> i'll have the audio of that exchange. you and your fellow white house correspondents had the exchange on his wlingness to answer questions to the special counsel, robert mueller. all of us are going to listen precisely to this exchange. listen. >> have you -- >> are you going to talk to mueller? >> i'm looking forward to it, actually. >> you want to? do you have a date set? >> there's be no collusion whatsoever. no obstruction whatsoever and i'm looking forward to it. with what's happening if you take a look at you know, the five months worth of missing texts. that's a lot of missing texts.
and as i said yesterday, that's prime time. so you do sort of look at that and say what's going on. you do look at certain texes talking about insurance policies. kinds of things they're saying and be concerned, but i would love to do that and as soon as possible. >> do you have a date set? >> so here's the story. >> do you have a date set? >> no, i think talking about two or three weeks. but i would love to do it. >> under oath, mr. president? >> you mean like hillary did it under oath? you say a lot. did hilly do it under oath? >> i have no idea. >> i think you have an idea. don't you have an idea? wait, do you not have an idea? do you really not have an idea. i'll give you an idea. she didn't do it under oath. but i would do it and you know she didn't do it under oath. if you didn't know about hillary -- >> so you heard the president
saying hillary clinton didn't do it under oath. but i would do it under oath. pamela brown is still with us and he also said they're talking maybe within the next two or three weeks, the president saying this exchange, this interview, with robert mueller and his team could take place. and let me just read precisely what he said. because this is very significant. i have to say subject to my lawyers and all that, but i would love to do it. and then he went on to sayen ani would do it under oath. >> talking to people close to the president and close to this process, the two to three week timeline in terms of an interview is a bit optimistic. there is no date set, but we have been told the president is eager to get this done with. he believes that if he sits down with robert mueller that perhaps this will all wrap up. you heard him there talking about he would love to sit down with robert mueller and do it
under oath. now whether or not that is the reality is unclear, of course, he wants to convey to everyone that he believes he has nothing to hide. that there was no collusion, that his campaign did not collude with the russians. and that there was no obstruction of justice. in the firing of james comey. so clearly, he wants to convey that by saying look, i'll sit down and tell robert mueller that face-to-face under oath, but of course i'll do it on the counsel of my lawyers, but there is a lot of back and forth negotiating right now between robert mueller's team and the president's legal team in terms of what a possible interview will look like. what shape. whether it be in written form or perhaps in person. i can tell you the lawyers would use the in person interview. that would be a last resort for the president's lawyers. but the president himself has told them as well that this is something he wants to do, we'll have to wait and see what happens. how this plays out, wolf. >> we're going to have more of
the audio from this xwang that you and other correspondents had with the president. we're standing by for that. i'm going to get back to you in a few moments. i'll going to bring in a former u.s. attorney fired by president trump. you heard what the president said. would love to be interviewed by robert mueller, the spebl counsel. suggest to my lawyers and all that, but i would love to do it. he said and then he said and i would do it under oath. your reaction. >> yes, so that's a big caveat, isn't it? subject to my lawyers and all that. that sounded like a posture than an ironclad commitment. then there's this all that. and all that could be literally anything at all. if he thinks he's not getting a fair shake. in the course of the deal that we just heard, he also made reference to whether or not hillary clinton testified and was interviewed erraunder oath. also to the text exchange between an fbi agent who used to
be on the mueller team so at the same time, that he's suggesting he wants to come forward and has nothing to hide, he's seeding sort of the public with all sorts of reasons why it may not be a great idea and he shouldn't be subjecting himself to it. i think we wait and see. >> when he says that hillary clinton during the investigation of her and the server and e-mail and all that, she didn't do it under oath. are you familiar with the ground rules? what the ground rules for her were? >> yeah, so a lot has been made of this. it is a natural thing in america because we watch television and we watch crime damas and movies about putting people under oath. and there's reason you do that particularly in open court proceedings and grand jury proceedings and deposition, but lots and lots of investigations, including ones i oversaw in my office that involve people and in particular, people in the public eye, we often standard
operating procedure, was to conduct a voluntary interview with fbi agents and federal prosecutors and people were not put under oath. sometimes, they testifying in front of congress. it is still a crime to lie in the context of that interview. whether you're under oath or not. it's a violation of 18 usa 2001, a statute that bob mueller has already used in connection with this case. i think two people have been charged and pled guilty with 1001, which is a fault statement. so it's a distinction without a difference largely. it will allow you to charge them later with a separate crime or purgery. but the fact that it's an ongoing proceeding that federal agents are doing the questioning and someone not being put under oath doesn't matter. it's a symbolic and rhetorical point that the president keeps making, but doesn't matter. and the fact hillary clinton wasn't put under oath doesn't mean a lot either and my guess would be that mueller team would not be requiring the president to be under oath and my
understanding is even though i don't know for sure, that some of the others who have been interviewed by the mueller team have also not been put under oath, so i don't think there's a double standard here at all. >> i know it's a crime to lie to the fbi. whether or not you're under oath or not. as part of a federal investigation. but is it also a crime to lie to prosecutors, to lawyers who work in the special counsel? >> yeah, lying to an assistant of the united states attorney or federal bureau of investigation agent is one in the same. >> all right, i want you to stand by. i want to get more reaction. phil mudd, what's your reaction? you now heard the precise words of what the president of the united states said. he said he wants to testify. he wants to testify under oath. then he added the words subject to my lawyers and all. but i would do it under oath. >> there's one clue in there that's significant. there was a conversation pamela mentioned in the time frame, matter of weeks.
we're in end game because if you look tat people who have been interviewed in this and the recent interviews, the attorney general, looks like steve bannon is getting teed up for an interview. those are the biggest fish in the pool here and as we talked about, mueller doesn't talk about the big fish until the end game. the white house said repeatedly, they want to close this out. move on to other things. if they want to get this over, i would say by the end of february, the president ought to be in the chair because if they're still on negotiating terms there, if you're so willing to talk and you want to get this over, what's to delay? sit in the chair and have the conversation. >> we're getting more audio from what the president said. pamela brown is still with us. i know we have another chunk of that xhang. what else do you have? >> that's right. the president also brought up the five months of missing text messages by peter struck who was under fire for criticizing trump during the campaign. he was part of the mueller investigation then removed several months ago.
the president brought that up so i followed up with asking him what he thought about the fbi. >> i would do it under oath. >> do you trust the fbi? >> we're going the see. i am very disturbed as is the general, everybody else that is intelligent. when you look at five months, this is rosemary woods, step. this is a large scale version. that was 18 month, this is five months. they say it's 50,000 texts. and it's prime time. that's disturbing. good-bye, everybody. >> should mccabe go? >> he got more than $500,000 from essentially hillary clinton and is he investigating hillary clinton? >> should he go? >> did anybody here, many of my speeches, where i talked about mccabe, he was the star of my speech. this is a map. and i said a man who was more or less in charge of her got the
wife got $500,000. from 30. 30 is hillary. >> do you regret having him as your acting fbi director then? >> i keep out of it. you find that hard to believe. i find that hard to believe. that's the way it fell. he's there. it's one of those things, but he was the star of many of my speeches. he got from five to 700,000, whatever the number was. got that money for the wife. and you know, in virginia, in virginia, wait. in virginia, you don't have to spend the money. so i never check ed as to whethr or not they spend the money on the campaign. how much did he spend on the campaign? >> she. >> how much of the money was spent? you know. how much -- >> did you ask him that? >> i don't think so. no. >> you don't think -- >> i don't think i did. i don't know what's the big deal with that. because i would ask you, who did
you vote for? i don't think it's a big deal, but i don't remember that. i don't remember asking him the question. >> you u don't remember. >> i think it's a very unimportant question. but i don't remember asking the question. >> chief, will you do me a favor? when we come back, when we come back, i want you to have a deal, okay? >> of course, he's talking to his chief of staff john kelly there at the end saying he wants a deal on immigration when he comes back from davos. very unrealistic there given the divide between republicans and democrats in that short time. i asked him there as you heard why he kept mccabe in the position of acting fbi director when he fired james comey. he said he stayed out of it. but it was his decision at the time after he fired james comey that night he did make the decision to make andrew mccabe the acting fbi director for a time and you heard him say there he doesn't recall asking andrew mccabe who he voted for, but
sort of slugged it off like it wasn't a big deal. just to recap, he said he would love to sit down and talk to robert mueller face-to-face. something that is being worked out, the terms of that negotiation, i can tell you, his lawyer has said that could open him up to purgery. that's the concern, that if the president sat down face-to-face, it could open him up to perjury. he brought up hillary clinton. he said he would do an interview under oath unlike hillary clinton. i can just tell you for context, hillary clinton did do a voluntary fbi interview that was not under oath, but it is a federal crime to lie to the fbi there. so really, a lot of headlines coming from the white house today as the president covered a number of topics including the immigration bill and he is saying, wolf, that he believes he will reach a deal soon. >> within two or three weeks he anticipated this interview with mueller and his team could take place. he says hemts to do it, he'd
love to do it, subject in his words, to my lawyers and all that. precisely that. stand by. i want to get your reaction to this other excerpt from this exchange that the white house correspondents had with the president. >> it's really pretty remarkable for the number of inaccuracies, conspiracy mongerings and outright just strangeness. first of all, hillary did not give any money to mccabe's wife when she ran for the state senate in virginia. it was terry mccalliffe, yes, a friend of the clintons, but he's very much involved in virginia politics and would have every reason to support a democrat in that seat. the, i'm trying to keep track of all the things he said.
i mean, there was not any, gosh, sorry, i lost my train of thought. come back to me on this and i will, i'll fill you in further. >> the other thing that the president said and you were listening carefully as well, that the exchange, the text messages between these two fbi officials disappeared from december until may. and he says that's worse than rosemarry woods during watergate, the 18-minute exchange that went missing. and we reported now and the fbi is saying and you used to work at the fbi, apparently, there's some new samsung phones that were brought in and there were thousands of these phones 10% of the fbi new phones that had a glitch and didn't save those kinds of e-mails and messages during that period. >> shockingly enough, the federal bureau of investigation
and federal government are not always great at i.t. when i was there, we were recovering from $180 million investment in computerization at the bureau. money down the drain. we couldn't absorb that technology fast enough. i think the story here is going to be bore iing as you just suggesteded. they lost the messages because the technology had glitches. there's one other piece of this. let me take you inside the u.s. government. if you want to have a conspiracy when you're trying to erase messages, you need 50 to 100 people. two people can't do this. >> everybody stand by. i'm going to take a quick break. we're follow iing all the breakg news and there's lots of it unfolding. more excerpts from the president right after this. you do all this research
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we're following the breaking news, the president meeting informally with white house correspondents and making major, major new, inclueing he's ready to testify to answer questions to robert mueller under oath, subject to my lawyers to go along with that. but there were other changes he had with the white house correspondents. listen to this one. >> one more quick one. do you believe robert -- >> i only repeat for the purposes of making sure you understand. >> do you think robert mueller will be fair to you? this larger investigation? zbloo we're going to find ouct.t because here's what we'll say. no collusion. there's no collusion. now they're saying oh, well, did he fight back? did you fight back?
said -- fight back. fight back. oh, it's obstruction. so here's the thing. i hope so. >> how do you define collusion? mag asked this earlier. >> you're going to define it for me. but i can tell you, there's tho collusion. i couldn't have cared less about russians having to do with my campaign. the fact is, you people won't say this, but i'll say it. i was a much better candidate. you say she was a bad candidate. you never say i was a good candidate. i was one of the greatest candidates. nobody else would have beaten the clinton machine, but u i was a great candidate. some day you're going the say that. good-bye, everybody. >> another exchange he had. rebecca, what's your analysis of what we just heard from the president on a whole host of issues. >> that statement you just played, wolf, is an incredibly revealing statement when it comes to the president, his frame of mind and particularly, hi think ihis thinking around
this investigation that is ongoing by robert mueller. the president clearly is still focused on what this says about the legitimacy of his presidency. the legitimacy of his victory in the presidential election. he mentions there that the press won't say he's a great president, or a great candidate, was one of f the dwrathe greate candidates of all time. clearly that's his focus even at this late stage even as it's closing in on an interview with him. >> sa bray na? >> i think the it's clear the president is more fixuaated on e perception of him and his presidency. he has not even acknowledged what is the widespread consen s consensus, that russia did meddle in the 2016 election. i think the biggest challenge for the president is if he sits down with the special counsel will be connist ensy. there has not been around his
decision to fire mike flynn. the president later suggested a tweet it was because mike flynn lied to the fbi. the question about the june 6 meting at trump tower will be a pivotal meeting for the team. what did the president know when candidate trurp about the meeting, what came of that meeting and also what about the highly misleading statement the white house put out about the nature suggesting it was about adoptions. later it was because they were promised damaging information about clinton. this is a president who's had a problem with the truth, so that's why they're trying to limit the constraints of this interview. >> the president is under investigation. this, he won't admit it. he says you know, there was no collusion. he's clear. but he's under investigation. and he is on the legitimacy of his presidency. >> and jeffrey, let's not forget the president suggesting this meeting with the robert mueller
could take place in two or three weeks. they'd love to do it. subject to my lawyers and all that, but i would love to do it. and he would say i would do it under oath. that's the headline right now. >> that is certain ly a headlin. and we'll see if that, if that promise actually comes true. that there is an interview under oath. but in the last clip, he said something that was very interesting and legally >> when he was talking about the issue of obstruction of justice, he said, well, am i not allowed to fight back. he used the term fight back. and i think that really tells you what the defense is going to be if someone asserts, as many people have, that the firing of james comey was an obstruction of justice. that he fired james comey to interfere or stop the investigation of russia and thus him. he is going to say, and his lawyers will say, no, no, no, i wouldn't stopping the investigation. i was fighting back against a
conspiracy that was against my presidency involving apparently andrew mccabe and jim comey. andrew mccabe the current deputy director of the fbi james comey. so i think that phrase, which i haven't heard before, fight back, is going to be an important part of his defense to object instruction of justice, which may be the most legal peril he's n even more than the whole collusion. >> that's an important point. the president could argue his lawyers could argue, you can call it obstruction of justice. we are calling it fighting back. >> and this is a message not to us, a mess hague to the american people. i think jeffrey is dead on. let's play out one simple scenario. we get charges potentially related to obstruction of justice but no charges suggest illegal contact with the russians. i can guess the president was going to say, of course i fought back, i told you all along there were no charges, and now you are
telling me it's not good to fight back. that's his case to the american people. >> we'll hear some more from the president. more audio coming in extraordinarily meeting with white house responsibiliticorret after this. this is what our version of financial planning looks like. tomorrow is important, but this officially completes his education. spend your life living. find an advisor at northwesternmutual.com.
three weeks to answer questions before the special counsel robert mueller subject to my lawyers and all that. but he says i would do it under oath. he also made other significant news. he also said he now supports a pathway to citizenship for the d.r.e.a.m.ers. daca recipients over 10 to 12 year period. listen to this. >> do you think you'll get a deal on immigration, mr. president? >> i think so, yes. we'll get a wall and great border security. >> what do you think it will look like? >> i just wrote something out we want greater border security. we want to do a great job with daca. i think its our issue and better issue for the democrats and republicans. >> do you want citizenship? >> we are going to morph into it and it will happen. >> what does that mean? >> over ha period of 150 0 to 1 years. gives incentive to work hard.
they've worked hard. whether they have a cop, mpany, they do a nice job, nice to have incentive of becoming able to become a citizen. >> how many years? >> 10 or 12. >> there is a headline the president now supporting a pathway to citizenship, not legal status here in the united states for those d.r.e.a.m.ers the immigrants who came to the united states as little kid by parents brought in illegally. now he says we are going to morph into it. it's go go to happen at some point in the future. he called it incentive for immigrants. so that's going to ill nate some of the conservative base, especially in the house. >> potentially, yes, wolf and also takes away an important bargaining trip for donald trump and republicans. for him to out right say at this stage in the negotiations part of his plan is to grant citizenship eventually for d.r.e.a.m.ers.
that's something he could have give them for concession in exchange for more money for border security or wall. now he's saying that's already taken care of. what else will democrats now demand from him? >> conservatives t a lot of hardliners in the house, they call that nam necessity and hate it. >> i think a faction of conservatives any legal status for illegal documents is amnesty. he's going to have to put that on the table. the question is what will he demand in exchange and what will democrats concede in terms of funding for the wall ks probably game of semantics, where physical barrier but not definition a wall. are they going to phase out visa lottery program? so there will be a lot of parlor games to see what are the specifics in a deal. but this is certainly a big step and sign that the president wants to be more clear about position. >> and conservatives are the
wild card here. what account president, what can republicans get through the house of representatives. >> lots of headlines emerging from this informal exchange. the president had with white house correspondents. the big head line of course is that president says he's ready to testify before robert mueller subject to what his lawyers recommend. that's it for me. thanks for watching. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next breaking news, president trump says he wants to talk to bob mueller do it under oath. and republican talking point that the fbi is bias against the president, new reporting tonight pouring water on that conspiracy theory. plus trump says he's open to pathway for d.r.e.a.m.ers. does that mean immigration deal? let's go "outfront." good evening i'm erin burnett "outfront." president saying he is willing